Hong Kong 2003
Go to
Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese
Constitution and Administration
Home   Print this Page

The System of Government - District Administration

The District Administration Scheme commenced in 1982 with the establishment of a District Board and a District Management Committee in each district. Through the scheme, the Government promotes public participation in district affairs and fosters among the people of Hong Kong a sense of belonging and mutual care. The scheme also helps to ensure that the Government is responsive to district needs and problems. Following the 1998 review of the structure and functions of district organisations, District Boards have been renamed, in English, as District Councils, to underline their important role in district administration.

The second District Council Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was held on November 23, 2003, returning 400 elected members. On January 1, 2004, the second term of the District Councils commenced. In addition to the 400 elected members, there are 27 ex officio members (i.e. Rural Committee chairmen in the New Territories) and 102 appointed members, making a total of 529 District Council members. The term of office of these council members is for four years starting from January 2004.

The main function of District Councils is to advise the Government on matters affecting the well-being of the people living and working in the districts as well as on the provision and use of public facilities and services within the districts. The Government also consults these bodies on a wide range of issues.

Since the establishment of District Councils in January 2000, their roles and functions have been enhanced progressively. The Government completed a comprehensive review of the District Councils in 2001 and implemented by the end of that year a package of recommendations to further enhance the roles and functions of District Councils. Funds for District Councils to implement community involvement and minor environmental improvement projects in the districts have been increased from $130 million in 1999-2000 to $205.6 million in 2003-04.

To enhance communication between District Councils and policy bureaux and departments, Policy Secretaries and Heads of Departments who deal with matters affecting people's livelihood will meet the councils regularly and these departments have assigned specific officers to provide 'one-stop' services for District Councils and to handle their complaints. Policy bureaux and departments are required to consult District Councils on policy initiatives and capital works projects affecting the well-being of the community and to reflect the views of District Councils to the approving authorities. The 18 District Councils were consulted on 385 territory-wide issues and 1 968 district issues in 2003.

To further enhance District Council members' participation in the planning and implementation of district minor works projects, the chairmanship of District Working Groups of the Rural Public Works and the Urban Minor Works Programmes has been devolved to District Council members with effect from January 1, 2003. The chairmanship of the two Steering Committees will also be devolved to District Council members in due course. The Government has also appointed more District Council members to advisory bodies, especially those connected with livelihood matters.

All the measures have helped to substantially enhance the role of District Councils as the Government's key advisers on district affairs and strengthen their ability to influence the provision, delivery and management of district services and facilities. This helps ensure that the Government remains accountable and responsive to the changing needs of the community.

Each District Council operates a meet-the-public scheme, under which residents can meet council members face to face to express their views on any district problems. The scheme has been well received by the public. It also provides District Councils a direct channel to collect public views on local matters and region-wide issues, which the councils can in turn reflect to the Government.

Each district has a District Management Committee, chaired by the District Officer, comprising the Chairman, Vice Chairman and committee chairmen of the District Council and representatives of departments providing essential services in the district. The District Management Committee serves as a forum for inter-departmental consultation on district matters and coordinates the provision of public services and facilities to ensure that district needs are met promptly. The District Officer reports regularly the work of the District Management Committee to the District Council.

Area Committees were set up in 1972 to support the Keep Hong Kong Clean Campaign and the Fight Violent Crime Campaign. Nowadays, the functions of Area Committees are to encourage public participation in district affairs, to help organise community activities and government campaigns, and to advise on issues of a local nature.

Mutual Aid Committees are building-based resident organisations, established to improve the security, cleanliness and general management of multi-storey buildings. At year-end, there were 73 Area Committees and 3 121 Mutual Aid Committees. They provide an extensive network of communication between the Government and the people at the grassroots level.

Apart from Mutual Aid Committees, the Government also devotes time and effort to helping owners of private multi-storey buildings to form Owners' Corporations to facilitate effective management and timely maintenance of the buildings concerned. At year-end, 7 205 Owners' Corporations were registered with the Land Registry.

The Home Affairs Department has established four Building Management Resource Centres in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories to enhance its services in building management. These centres provide information, services and advice to building owners, residents, Owners' Corporations, Mutual Aid Committees and management bodies so as to assist them in improving the standards of management, safety and maintenance of their buildings. In 2003, the four centres handled a total of 36 332 visitors, 46 091 enquiries and 283 appointments for interviews with members of professional bodies.

Twenty Public Enquiry Service Centres are attached to the District Offices, providing a wide range of free services to the public. These services include answering general enquiries on government services; distributing government forms and information; administering oaths and declarations; and referring cases under the District Council members' meet-the-public scheme, the Free Legal Advice Scheme and the Rent Officer Scheme. The Public Enquiry Service Centres and the Central Telephone Enquiry Centre served a total of 2.45 million clients in 2003.

Yearbook archives: 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997
back to top
back to top